Monday, December 19, 2016

Recipe of the Week: Broccoli Soup with Croutons


Broccoli "Cheese" Soup with Homemade Croutons


Ahh, Winter. The perfect time to stay at home, curled up under some blankets, while reading a book or watching a movie with a steaming hot cup of cocoa, tea, or maybe even a stiff drink. It's time to warm up the house with the scent of baking, and cook some rib-sticking meals. One of my favorite rib-sticking meals for Winter are soups and stews. (I've elaborated more on that, including the pans I use, here.)

I've had a bag of yellow split peas hanging around for a long time, so I soaked them overnight, determined to make a soup out of them. My husband, on hearing that I planned on making soup, asked, "You have those broccoli heads in the refrigerator, why don't you make a cheesy-broccoli-style soup?" That got my brain working double-time, and so I did what I often do, and that's wing it.

We thought croutons would be good on top of the soup, and we were right. You can use already-made croutons, but homemade ones are easy and better tasting if you have some leftover bread. The whole thing turned out yummy, and my husband was even impressed. He admitted that it actually tasted much like cheesy broccoli soup. Here's how it came together:


Broccoli Cheeze Soup with Homemade Croutons


Ingredients:

2 lbs yellow split peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
10 c. vegetable stock (keep more on hand for adding if soup needs more liquid)
2 heads broccoli, cut up into small florets
3/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 t. turmeric
1 T. mild curry powder
2 t. smoked paprika
1 T. parsley flakes
1 - 2 t. cayenne pepper
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
2 t. salt
2 t. pepper

3 c. of hearty bread, cut into cubes
2 T. olive oil
pinch of salt


Instructions:

For the soup:

1. Cook split peas, seasonings, and vegetable stock in a dutch oven, over medium high heat, until soft and mushy. This takes a few hours, but stove-time can vary so just check it every so often.

2. When peas are soft and mushy, transfer half of them into a bowl and let cool for about 15 minutes.

3. Turn to stove down to simmer.

4. Add the cooled peas, along with the nutritional yeast, into a high-powered blender.

5. Blend until smooth.

6. Transfer the mixture back into the dutch oven with the other half of the pea soup.

7. Add the broccoli and turn the stove back up to medium-high heat.

8. Add more stock/broth as needed.

9. Cook until broccoli is tender.


For the croutons:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.. Add the bread cubes, oil, and salt to a bowl and toss until well-coated.

3. Transfer to a baking sheet.

4. Bake until crisp, approximately 10 minutes.



Notes:

Make the croutons right before serving the soup. Toss some on top of a bowl of the soup, and enjoy! You can blend up all of the soup for a creamier texture, but I prefer the body that some of the whole peas give. Either way, it would be perfectly delicious. And, as always, you can alter or change the seasonings you use depending on what you have and your favorites. For instance, I've been on an Old Bay kick, so that was added to this soup as well.





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